Sunday, 13 November 2011

So Long Saturday

Ah, the weekend. A time when you can be guaranteed a lie-in and you can be fairly safe in the knowledge that no one will be contacting you to travel to far-flung places to say a couple of words in the hope that you might secure a job that will reluctantly pay your travel expenses. It's Saturday. Why would anyone need you to make a 90 minute trip to utter maybe a minute's worth of speech? Of course, I realise I'm stupid. Only if you have a nice, normal job can you be certain that you won't be called up to travel 20 miles to play a religious fanatic from the Deep South who is partially sighted with a limp. But I don't have a nice, normal job so that's exactly what I found myself doing yesterday.

It was the same people that I worked for last weekend and they needed someone to play a few small roles. Flattered to be considered, I duly accepted without a thought to the fact that I was giving up yet another weekend to flit around London for no money. I mean, I wasn't going to be earning any money anyway over the weekend and at least when you're trapped on set for hours and hours, the chances of spending any cash are pretty damn limited so I suppose they were actually doing me a favour. The call time was midday which would normally be fine but the set was pretty much on the other side of the world (west London) so I found myself crawling out of bed at a time that really shouldn't be legal on a Saturday morning. It's one thing getting up at that time when you know you're going to be the star of the show but the effort becomes far greater when you realise that you're sacrificing your weekend for the sake fo a few lines and a half-baked character.

However, how wrong I was. I got to play a handful of fun characters, most of which were just voiceovers which meant I got to play around with my dreadful catalogue of accents. Northern, Deep South and Cockney all got a look in yesterday although I'm sure they all ended up sounding like various versions of Welsh in the end.

So, on set, much fun was to be had. However, it was off set where the tedium lied. Off set can be dull at best. The bulk of filming is waiting around and therefore a fully charged phone and a damn good book are your bestest friends. A good cast are also crucial too as you'll often find that you end up spending more time nattering with them and your book goes largely unread and your phone hardly checked. But yesterday no one seemed to want to really talk. As soon as we were on set, novels were whipped out of bags and phones were constantly monitored. The usual questions were fired out.Where did you train? What are you working on at the moment? Where did you travel from today? Do you lie awake at night wondering whether anyone will ever pay you to work again? OK, one of those is a lie. No one ever dares ask anyone what else they're working on at the moment. As a question it's far too loaded and encourages boastful actors to start listing off all the projects they're involved in for the next decade and it allows depressed actors to enter a monologue of self-pity and bitterness. So very little was said at all. One actress made it her mission to turn the few conversations that were held into a game of Top Trumps where she tried to better everyone else with her dismal tales of her vague acting past. I find this behaviour tiresome and sadly it just prevented me from trying to start any further backstage chats. Of course, these people are almost impossible to stop and I'm sorry to say that even as she was leaving set, I could hear her boring the ears off someone as she rattled on about some supposedly hilarious incident that happened before the world began.

Next weekend sees even more filming . This time I'll ensure I'm fully prepared with a box of conversation starts, plenty of ear plugs and enough mouth gags to stop even the most determined of acting bores...

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